Cold or flu? Prevention is best
Posted January 19, 2012
Adapted from a Wellness Works article, a publication of FCHP
It was not my favorite way to wake up – waking from a dream about being too hot, too thirsty. It was a classic “fever dream.”
The clock said 2 a.m. It was technically Monday, a work day. But at that moment I had a throbbing sore throat, the chills, and the aches and pains of a fever.
It was not going to be a good morning.
I took some ibuprofen, drank a glass of water and went back to bed. But was kept awake worrying – did I have the cold or was it the flu?
Which is it?
A cold and influenza (“the flu”) have a lot in common. Both are respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, and they hare many symptoms in common:
- General aches and pains
- A stuffy nose
- Sore throat
However, the flu is not just a major cold; it’s caused by different viruses. Symptoms are often more intense and last longer.
Unfortunately, antibiotics, which attack only bacteria, won’t cure a cold or the flu because each is caused by a virus. The best that medication can do is treat the symptoms and relieve discomfort.
The best advice is what my mom would tell me when I felt sick -- get lots of sleep and drink plenty of water. Chicken soup and fever-reducers are helpful, too.
Neither a cold nor flu are fun. And, both illnesses are highly contagious. Take steps to prevent getting sick:
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes or mouth with your hands
- Cough into your sleeve, not your hands.
And so it goes
It wasn't flu for me -- but it was a nasty cold that made its rounds through my lungs and sinuses. It was tough, and it took me about three weeks to start feeling "human" again.
Here's to a healthy new year!
Blogged by Katie Crommett
Photo credit: mcfarlandmo